About Me

Complete Bio

Classical baritone performer & composer Cantor Erik Contzius boasts more than two-dozen high-profile live performances around the globe, alongside numerous recorded works and original compositions. The New York Times praised his “potent narrative,” while he has garnered high praise from JazzTimes, The Arty Semite, Catholic New York, The Jewish Press of Omaha and Metroland. His setting of Psalm 116 in Hebrew & Latin, in fact, premiered at the Vatican. Contzius’ musical template is an idyllic reflection of his relationship with the Divine.

His passion for music ranges from Hazzanut (cantorial art music) and Yiddish folk songs to Opera and Broadway melodies; while his original published compositions reflect a spiritual journey:  The Travelers’ Prayer, Hineh Ma Tov, and Shalom Rav (all published by Transcontinental Music Publications), and And Hannah Prayed—which was selected for The Third International Festival of New Jewish Liturgical Music, sponsored by Shalshelet. Contzius’ original compositions and voice have also been featured on such recorded works as Teach My Lips a Blessing: The Music of Erik Contzius, recorded with the Amor Artis Chamber Choir; as well as his solo collection for cantor and pipe organ interpretations, How Excellent is Thy Name. He also appeared as a soloist on the recording Celebrate Chanukah with the Westminster Choir College’s Youth Chorale.

Cantor Contzius has been an internationally featured soloist, performing: The Fantasticks as El Gallo with Embark|Peekskill, Britten’s Noye’s Fludde as Noye with the Westchester Chorale (Larchmont, NY), Further Definitions of the Days of Awe with the Afro-Semitic Experience (NYC), Mozart’s Requiem with Varna International (Israel), Darius Milhaud’s Service Sacré as well as Mario Castelnuovo Tedesco’s Memorial Service with the Westchester Chorale, Ernest Bloch’s Sacred Service (Avodat Hakodesh) with the Menno Singers (Ontario) and with The Songs of Life Festival (Bulgaria & Jerusalem), Handel’s Israel in Egypt with the Westchester Chorale (New Rochelle, NY), Vergessene Musik—The Forgotten Music of the German Jewish Reform Movement (Münich), Concert: Let Freedom Sing (Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.), and in the International Organ Festival of Göteborg (Sweden).

Cantor Contzius will appear as “The Cantor” in the upcoming feature film, “Harry Haft,” directed by Barry Levinson.

Cantor Contzius earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at Rutgers College, then studied abroad at the University of York, England. He received his Master of Sacred Music degree from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, School of Sacred Music, studying in Israel and New York City. His vocal training is ongoing, having worked under the tutelage of Tom Lomonaco, Carlos Serrano, David Adams, Dr. Donald Roberts and Richard Slade. Cantor Contzius is a member of the American Conference of Cantors. He resides in Peekskill, N.Y., with his wife Monica and their son Jacob.

Composer Bio

Cantor Erik Contzius (1968- ) earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at Rutgers College, then studied abroad at the University of York, England. He received his Master of Sacred Music degree from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, School of Sacred Music, studying in Israel and New York City.

Contzius models his composition style after the likes of Bonia Shur, Abraham Levitt, Ben Steinberg, Robbie Solomon, and Joseph Myerov, combining elements of traditional Jewish modes & motifs with the sounds of modern classical music. His noted works published by Transcontinental Music include: The Travelers’ Prayer, Hineh Mah Tov, and Shalom Rav.

His piece And Hannah Prayed was selected for The Third International Festival of New Jewish Liturgical Music, sponsored by Shalshelet. His setting of Psalm 116 (Mah Ashiv Ladonai—quid retribuam Domino) was composed specifically for the occasion of the American Conference of Cantors’ mission to the Vatican as a part of the Second Annual Jewish Catholic Dialogue where it enjoyed its premiere.

Many of Cantor Contzius’ compositions are featured on the recording Teach My Lips a Blessing, with the Amor Artis Chamber Choir.

Erik resides with his family in Westchester County, New York.

Short Performance Bio

Erik Contzius (Lyric Baritone): Recent credits include HARRY HAFT (The Cantor, film directed by Barry Levinson), ANNE FRANK, A MUSICAL (Fritz Pfeifer) with BROADWAY MAD PRODUCTION, BRIGADOON (Angus MacGuffie) with LITTLE RADICAL THEATRICS, AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS (King Melchior) with THE AMERICAN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA, HMS PINAFORE (Boatswain) and THE MAGIC KNIGHT (The King) with TROUPERS LIGHT OPERA COMPANY, THE EMPEROR AND THE NIGHTINGALE (The Music Master) with THE NEW ROCHELLE COUNCIL OF THE ARTS, THE FANTASTICKS (El Gallo) and THE HISPANICK ZONE (El Lobo) with EMBARK PEEKSKILL, NOYE’S FLUDDE (Noye) with THE NEW ROCHELLE COUNCIL OF THE ARTS and HANNAH (Nicanor) by Leonard Lehrman. Erik is also a classical baritone soloist who regularly performs around Westchester County, New York, and beyond, most notably singing the Bloch Sacred Service internationally. He holds degrees from Rutgers University and Hebrew Union College. He also composes liturgical music, sings with a barbershop quartet, and is a member of ASCAP. Learn more at: contzius.com

Long Performance Bio

Classical baritone Erik Contzius boasts more than two-dozen high-profile live performances around the globe, alongside numerous recorded works. The New York Times praised his “potent narrative,” while he has garnered high praise from JazzTimes, The Arty Semite, Catholic New York, The Jewish Press of Omaha and Metroland. Contzius has been an internationally featured soloist, performing: Schoenberg’s Kol Nidrei (Opus 39) at the Bard Music Festival, Noye’s Fludde (as Noye) with the Westchester Chorale (Larchmont, NY), Charles Osborne’s Souls on Fire (Brooklyn, NY), Mozart’s Requiem with Varna International (Israel), Darius Milhaud’s Service Sacré with the Westchester Chorale, Ernest Bloch’s Sacred Service (Avodat Hakodesh) with the Menno Singers (Ontario) and with The Songs of Life Festival (Bulgaria & Jerusalem), Handel’s Israel in Egypt with the Westchester Chorale (New Rochelle, NY), Vergessene Musik—The Forgotten Music of the German Jewish Reform Movement (Münich), Concert: Let Freedom Sing (Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.), and in the International Organ Festival of Göteborg (Sweden).

On stage, Contzius has taken roles such as El Gallo in The Fantasticks, The Boatswain in HMS Pinafore, and The King in The Magic Knight.

Contzius is a featured soloist on several recordings, including on Further Definitions of the Days of Awe with the Afro-Semitic ExperienceTeach My Lips a Blessing: The Music of Erik Contzius, recorded with the Amor Artis Chamber Choir, as well as his solo collection for cantor and pipe organ interpretations, How Excellent is Thy Name. He also appears as soloist on the recording Celebrate Chanukah with the Westminster Choir College’s Youth Chorale. His vocal training is ongoing, having worked under the tutelage of Tom Lomonaco, Carlos Serrano, David Adams, Dr. Donald Roberts and Richard Slade.

In addition to his classical repertoire, Contzius also is an active member of the Westchester Chordsmen, the premiere Barbershop Chorus of the tri-state area, and performs regularly with his quartet, 29 Seconds.

Cantorial Bio

Cantor Erik Contzius boasts more than two-dozen high-profile live performances around the globe, alongside numerous recorded works and original compositions. The New York Times praised his “potent narrative.”

His setting of Psalm 116 in Hebrew & Latin, premiered at the Vatican. Contzius’ musical template is an idyllic reflection of his relationship with the Divine.

His original published compositions reflect a spiritual journey:  The Travelers’ Prayer, Hineh Ma Tov, and Shalom Rav (all published by Transcontinental Music Publications), and And Hannah Prayed—which was selected for The Third International Festival of New Jewish Liturgical Music, sponsored by Shalshelet.

Contzius’ original compositions and voice have also been featured on such recorded works as Teach My Lips a Blessing: The Music of Erik Contzius, recorded with the Amor Artis Chamber Choir; as well as his solo collection for cantor and pipe organ interpretations, How Excellent is Thy Name.

Cantor Contzius earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at Rutgers College, then studied abroad at the University of York, England. He received his Master of Sacred Music degree from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, School of Sacred Music, studying in Israel and New York City. His vocal training is ongoing, having worked under the tutelage of Tom Lomonaco, Carlos Serrano, David Adams, Dr. Donald Roberts and Richard Slade. Cantor Contzius is a member of the American Conference of Cantors. He resides in Peekskill, N.Y., with his wife Monica and their son Jacob.

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